I admit I have been dying to write an article like this for ages. The reason being that in the course of my working life I still come across many instances of purely and simply over training. The strange thing about this article is that the push to write it came from an ad claiming to be able to double your fitness gains (whatever that means) by training for ……are you ready for this……ONE HOUR A MONTH and yes you did read that correctly.
Well, I consider that a little on the infrequent side, I don’t know about you. I’ll wait to be proven wrong but I consider it to be verging on the absurd, unless of course you know better. At the other end of the spectrum we have the habit of training everyday which in most cases is likely to result in problems, whether they be injury, fatigue of poor performance.
The point brings me on to an old book I accquired when I first dreamt of being the next Mr. Universe. This book from many moons ago is simple and uncomplicated and was my only source of knowledge when I started strength training as a teenager.
Now this old book of mine recommended that old favourite EVERY OTHER DAY ROUTINE. To most of us this meant a Monday, Wednesday, Friday session with rest days in between and at weekends. Before I get my head bitten right off, let me explain. I appreciate fully that since the inception of the three day a week, every other day system things have significantly moved on. The point I wish to make however is that the rationale behind this system has a great physiological foundation.
Research shows that it can take on average up to forty eight hours (and more in cases) for body tissue to regenerate, grow and repair following exercise and trauma. In simple terms, it takes up to two days for the muscles, tendons and other body tissues to repair AND HERE IS THE KEY BIT to be fully recovered and ready for the next training session. Basically the old three day a week system acknowledges and works perfectly with this, hence the reason for its success.
So what about advancements or improvements of this system? Ok let’s take a look at bodybuilding. This activity is all about maximising muscle growth and is therefore a great example to use. A highly successful training system is to train two or three body parts on a given day (back, biceps and legs for example) and then train the other body parts (shoulders, triceps and abdomen). the next day. The cycle is then repeated so that training can occur on consecutive days whilst still allowing for the forty eight hour recovery period of specific muscle groups.
Npw applying this principle to other sports is not so simple. It demands some in depth analysis of the your sport to break it down into its component parts. This will allow specific aspects to be worked on at different times, thus allowing frequent training sessions but at the same time satisfying the necessity for sufficient rest and recovery.
This is such an enormous subject that one article like this cannot fully do it justice but as long as you get a taste of the idea. It is sufficient here to give you some knowledge and ideas to work from. Here are a couple of proven strategiies to work with and apply to your own situation.
Seasonal or Cyclical Training Most sports have natural seasons anyway. Understand them and use them to plan your training so that you work harder at certain times on specific aspects. This will allow you to work intensely at certain times and do maintenance training at others. It will allow you to peak and hopefully hit new levels of success. No athlete can maintain maximum levels of performance for weeks, months and years on end.
All top class athletes use this cyclic principle to their benefit. At certain times you will be able to work harder than others, stretching yourself to your limits. This can then be folllowed by a maintenance or rest and recuperation program until the next intense period is undertaken.
Pool Training The use of water as a medium for exercise is awesome and proven beyond doubt to be highly effective in many ways. In water of sufficient depth you weigh approximately one ninth as much as you do on dry land. This means that your musculo-skeletal system has markedly reduced stresses on it. You can take advantage of this by training in water.
This requires specialist knowledge as above all else it has its dangers. Again this article is not the place to cover this particular subject in detail but suffice to say it is well worth investigating as a means of improving cardio-vascular fitness, strength, stamina and as a rehabilitative tool, I have to say it is phenomenal.
So there we have it. The basics rationale behind being courageous enough to do less to achieve more in the sporting arena. Good luck and trust me, in the long run it works.